New shire tourism strategy
Berrigan Shire Council will dip in to its own coffers to help grow the tourism industry in the shire.
Council has announced a new tourism push, which will see it offer seed funding for new events with the potential to increase visitor numbers.
It will also form an events management committee tasked with implementing the shire’s new Tourism Events Strategy.
The strategy sets a guideline for future tourism and economic developments for shire communities, including the development of new events.
Berrigan Shire Council general manager Rowan Perkins said the objective of improving tourism within the community has been bolstered by a more proactive approach to funding.
He said council’s new approach was based on the belief that a stronger tourism industry would have significant flow on benefits for the wider community.
‘‘Council has budgeted for a pool of funds to be made available to event organisers who require start-up monies to develop their events.
‘‘The objective of council is to provide the shire’s tourism industry with a boost, as we play host to significant events in the shire that attract lots of overnight visitors to enjoy the festivities.
‘‘We hope to encourage the development of a calendar of events that will enhance the shire’s reputation as a place to visit, and we are particularly looking to event organisers to commit to growing events so that they are self sustaining financially.
‘‘Of course, we would love to have several marquee events in our Shire.
‘‘We understand that an event may take time to develop, but we are seeking to support organisers who have that sort of aspiration.’’
With success stories like the Deniliquin Ute Muster and the Parkes Elvis Festival in mind, Berrigan Council believes a community approach is needed to progress tourism.
Council sees the expansion of events as key action to increase the number of people visiting and staying in the area.
By engaging with community members, council hopes to combine local enthusiasm with event management experience.
Council is inviting community members to register an expression of interest in being part of the new Events Management Committee, and is looking for a mix of enthusiasm and experience.
As a committee of council, committee members will have the role of engaging with event organisers who wish to grow existing events or to create new events which have the potential to attract significant numbers of visitors to the area.
‘‘The committee will adopt a set of criteria to assess funding applications from event organisers, and then to allocate and monitor the use of funds of the events and report on the success or otherwise to council,’’ Mr Perkins said.
Council has highlighted the growth of the upcoming Barooga Strings Music Festival as a focus point for the committee, as well as existing annual events which could be improved.
It says the Barooga festival has the potential to become a significant drawcard, tapping into music lovers from Melbourne, regional Victoria and southern NSW.
Events like the Finley, Tocumwal and Barooga rodeos, and the Berrigan and Tocumwal Cup race meetings are expected to grow under the guidance of the committee, as well as the Hot Rod Run and Tocumwal Winter Festival.
Council has also discussed potentially staging a repeat of the North Tuppal Shearing event.
Community members on the committee will serve with two Berrigan Shire councillors.
Mr Perkins hopes to have the committee formed as soon as possible following the June 12 closing date for committee member applications.